The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide guide-posts to society as it attempts to respond to an array of pressing challenges. One of these challenges is energy.

The SDGs have become paramount for energy policy-making. Yet, while governments throughout the world have already declared the SDGs to be “integrated and indivisible”, there are still knowledge gaps surrounding how the interactions between the energy SDG targets and those of the non-energy-focused SDGs might play out in different contexts.

Drone aerial view of solar thermal power plant station in the desert.
Solar thermal power station in Nevada, USA. Photo: Mlenny / Getty Images .

This review points to potential ways forward for both the policy making and scientific communities. First, the authors found that positive interactions between the SDGs outweigh the negative ones, both in number and magnitude.

Second, in order to fill knowledge gaps in critical areas, there is an urgent need for interdisciplinary research geared toward developing new data, scientific tools, and fresh perspectives.

Third, wider efforts to promote policy coherence and integrated assessments are required to address potential policy spillovers across sectors, sustainability domains, and time and space.